In pre-dawn darkness, Super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall on Saturday in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province on the northern tip of Luzon, Philippines. What is often forgotten is that over 10% of people in its path have disabilities and these people are the most vulnerable.
“In typhoons, those with disabilities are the least able to flee or protect themselves in their homes. It’s the forgotten, tragic story of disasters and emergencies”, said Dr Murray Sheard, CEO of cbm New Zealand. “cbm specialises in ensuring disaster responses include those with disabilities and we work to help them prepare in advance.”
cbm (Christian Blind Mission International) is conducting damage and response assessments through its Emergency Response Unit and is ready to respond via their partners’ Ilocos Sur office in North West Luzon, near where the typhoon exited the Philippines.
cbm will be offering relief, especially to ensure people with disabilities are not left behind. This includes emergency shelter, school repairs and assistive devices for people with disabilities, as well as advocating for inclusion of persons with disabilities into relief and rehabilitation efforts.
The strongest storm the world has seen this year, Super Typhoon Mangkhut, ploughed through the Northern coast’s agricultural region with strong winds and heavy rain. More than four million people were in the typhoon’s path, which had winds of up to 200km/h and gusts up to 260km/h. It is known that at least 69 people have been killed and this is expected to rise to well over 100. Damages are estimated to exceed $270 million.
Heavy damage to infrastructure and agriculture was sustained and over 700,000 people from 30 provinces were affected. Mangkhut’s path affected areas where country’s major dams and river basins are located. Governor Manuel Mamba of Cagayan said that the province had time to harvest less than 10 percent of produce from rice and corn fields before the typhoon struck.
“As well as providing direct relief, cbm New Zealand also works with other New Zealand aid agencies to ensure that disaster relief is more inclusive of those with disabilities”, says Sheard.
New Zealanders can give to the response, especially for those with disabilities, at cbmnz.org.nz or by calling 0800 113 114
cbm is an international Christian development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world. With over 100 years of professional expertise, cbm addresses poverty as a cause, and a consequence, of disability, and works in partnership towards an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.
www.cbmnz.org.nz 0800 113 114
For further comments and interviews, contact:
Dr Murray Sheard CEO
cbm New Zealand